The Paula and Rodger Riney Foundation announced a gift of $1.8 million to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Myeloma Center in the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute to fund multiple myeloma research.
Rodger Riney is the former founder and CEO of the discount brokerage firm Scottrade. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2015 and has since become an advocate for research and treatment of the disease, including serving on the board of directors for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
“Paula and I are pleased to invest in the UAMS Myeloma Center, which has made great strides in advancing multiple myeloma research and increasing survival rates,” Rodger Riney said. “As a multiple myeloma patient, I understand the critical need to pursue new research and treatments, in hopes of ultimately finding a cure.”
The UAMS Myeloma Center is the most comprehensive center in the world for research and clinical care related to multiple myeloma and related diseases.
The Rineys’ gift will help further multiple myeloma research at UAMS and advance the search for cures and prevention, the center said in a news release on Thursday (May 20).
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells in the blood. It develops in the bone marrow where most blood cells are produced and is the second-most common blood-related cancer.
“We are extremely grateful to the Rineys for their generosity and support,” said Frits van Rhee, M.D., Ph.D., clinical director of the Myeloma Center. “This gift will fund emerging research crucial to innovation of treatment. Since our founding more than 30 years ago, we have made great strides and impacted thousands of lives through world-class care and research. As we continue to build on the progress we have already achieved, cure will be become a reality for many more patients.”
“Every day, I am proud to witness the amazing work accomplished by our Myeloma Center faculty and staff,” said Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D., UAMS vice chancellor and director of the Cancer Institute. “As we push towards our goal of achieving National Cancer Institute designation, the Rineys’ generous philanthropic support will allow our researchers to continue their essential front-line work that will advance care for our patients now and for years to come.”
Myeloma expert Fenghuang “Frank” Zhan, M.D., Ph.D., the center’s research director, will manage the Riney Family Multiple Myeloma Research Program Fund. The Cancer Institute will install a plaque outside Zhan’s laboratory recognizing the gift.
Since its founding in 1989, the UAMS Myeloma Center has seen more than 11,000 patients from every state and more than 50 foreign countries. The center performs more stem cell transplants for myeloma than any other center in the world.